Some Happy Tails speak right to the heart, and the story of Kiko is one such case. Rescued from an unhappy past, this sweet dog found a kindred spirit in his adopter, Carlos. Together, they helped each other heal while uncovering new depths of love and companionship. Here is their story.
When Kiko arrived at the local city shelter in New York City, he was suffering from pneumonia, diarrhea and bites that appeared to be from another dog. It was clear that he needed advanced care, so the ASPCA stepped in and transferred the two-year-old pit bull to our Animal Hospital in the Upper East Side. He remained there for an entire month, until he was strong enough to be transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center. Having moved from shelter to hospital to adoption center, sweet Kiko was more than ready to find a permanent home.
Meanwhile, Carlos, who lives in Queens, was coming out of a very similar situation. “I had just spent ten months in a shelter myself,” he says. “I felt I needed to help better someone else’s life, and I decided to adopt a dog because I wanted a loving companion.”
Carlos’s family had always adopted dogs from shelters or foster homes, so he knew that the ASPCA was a great place to begin his search for a pet. The minute he met Kiko, it was a perfect fit. “I knew he was the dog for me because our personalities just matched. He was energetic, relaxed, very affectionate and attentive,” he recalls. “Plus,” he says with a wink, “It turned out that someone was a ‘pound dog’ like me.”
On May 14, Carlos adopted Kiko and the two of them began their new life together. Kiko is on a gentle diet to help with his gastrointestinal issues, and Carlos is helping him forget his painful past. “He came from an abusive background and he gets frightened easily,” he says, “But we’re working on that every day.” The twosome likes to snuggle and take “corny photos” together, and Carlos says, “Kiko’s adjusted perfectly to living at home.”
Although they didn’t know it until the day they met, Carlos and Kiko’s stories were uncannily similar. But both made it out of a shelter and into a loving home, and together, their future is brighter than ever. Congratulations to them both this happy new life!
Although Jordan and Fish had never met, the two senior cats had a lot in common. Both had been adopted and returned multiple times, both had behavioral issues and both were eager to find loving forever homes. As luck would have it, these sweet kitties did end up finding the perfect home—with each other! After years in the making, here is Jordan and Fish’s Happy Tail.
Our story begins with Fish, a six-year-old black cat who came to the ASPCA from a local city shelter in June 2013. We were thrilled to see him adopted just one month later, but were disappointed when he was returned the following March. The adopter stated that Fish was food-obsessed, that he played rough and that he had a tendency to bite and scratch. It was clear that Fish had not yet found his ideal match.
Meanwhile, we hadn’t heard from eight-year-old Jordan in nearly six years. The black-and-white cat had been found as a stray and adopted in 2008, but last July, his guardian returned him due to familial issues. He, too, found a new home quickly, but was returned again in November 2014 because of house-soiling and litter box problems. Although they were unrelated, finicky Jordan and rambunctious Fish seemed to be kindred kitty spirits.
In March, both cats wound up together in the same room at the ASPCA Adoption Center. As luck would have it, that was precisely when Mary O. of Inwood, NYC, also wound up at the ASPCA. She says, “Two days after my previous cat passed, I found myself lying awake in bed realizing that it had been more than 30 years since I was without a living creature with me in my home.” She missed the warmth and companionship of a cat, and decided that the timing was perfect to bring home two feline friends at once.
Mary and her partner, Andrea, headed to the ASPCA in search of young female cats. They met a number of adoptable felines before visiting the habitat where Jordan and Fish were living. “As Andrea and I sat on the floor scratching any chin that was presented, Fish came right over and stuck his head into my hand,” Mary recalls. “Then I noticed Jordan. Jordan was just sort of hanging out, watching the others, and then got up and ambled about. He and I made eye contact, and I got a slow blink.” The volunteer pointed out that neither cat was a young female, like Mary had requested, but by then she was sold. “These are the cats for me,” she said.
Because both Jordan and Fish had presented behavioral issues in the past, we made sure to fill Mary in on their history and advised her to ease them into their new home slowly. But upon arrival at Mary’s apartment—and much to everyone’s surprise—the new brothers had settled in by the end of their first day. “As soon as Fish started to inspect the living room, Jordan took it as a sign that the coast was clear and came right out to join him. They looked so happy,” Mary says. “When I fed them dinner, they ate right next to each other, and by the time I was ready for bed, they were on the bed with me.”
Over the following months, Jordan and Fish continued to delight in their happy new life. Mary bought them cat beds and toys, but she says, “the real big hits have been Snapple lids and Trader Joe’s paper bags!” Fish loves climbing his six-foot-high cat condo while Jordan has decided that the computer is where he wants to be—“I have come home a couple of times to find gibberish on the screen from where he has been ‘typing!’” Mary laughs. She says the two of them sleep, eat and hang out right next to each other all day long.
“I’m really happy to have my Big Moosh (Jordan is 14 pounds) and my Little Moosh (Fish is 11) to cuddle with, and I am looking forward to years of good times with them,” says Mary. “The next purchase will be a pet cam so I can Skype with them during the day!”
It’s almost hard to believe that these are the same two cats who experienced so much difficulty in the past. Their story is proof that with love, patience, and the right family (both feline and human), any animal can flourish.
When we rescue puppies and kittens from cruelty, we’re optimistic that they will forget their past hardships. But when a senior animal is saved from abuse, we can’t help but be heartbroken by how much of their life has been spent suffering. Thankfully, animals are amazingly resilient—and Patriot, a senior pit bull, refused to let a lifetime of cruelty get in the way of a love-filled future. Here is Patriot’s Happy Tail.
When Patriot was rescued from an abusive situation last October, he was already eight years old. The sweet senior pooch had been starved and developed a heart murmur as a result. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, he received echocardiograms and dental extractions along with the surgical removal of a mass from under his tongue. After six weeks of recovering and building up strength, he was transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center to begin his search for a forever home.
Meanwhile, across town, Micah Z. was planning a big surprise for his boyfriend, Mark. “One day after work, Micah told me we were going someplace he thought I’d really like,” Mark recalls. “Next thing I know we are at the ASPCA ready to adopt!” The couple had always loved dogs but had never been official pet-parents before. Mark says, “Once we were there, it wasn’t a question of if we’d be a adopting a dog, it was a question of when. I’m so glad Micah came up with the idea!”
Mark and Micah met a number of available dogs as they walked around the Adoption Center, but they were admittedly intimidated by some of the louder, friskier pups. When they spotted Patriot, they were immediately drawn to his calm, soothing energy. “Seeing Patriot behind the glass window, it was instantaneous” says Mark. “He was so sweet looking and all he did was look back and forth between Micah and I. Not a peep came from him, and all I can really clearly remember saying is, ‘Can we please meet him?’”
Mark’s instincts proved to be spot-on as the meeting with Patriot went off without a hitch. “Once we got to play and pet him a bit, I knew,” he says. “His disposition was so sweet and genuine and loving, I could hardly imagine the thought of going back home without him. The crowning moment, however, was when he stood beside me, then leaned his weight on my legs, looked up to stare at me and then gave me a big kiss on my cheek. It was love at first lick!”
The couple adopted Patriot that day and vowed to give him a happy, safe life. In an update a few months later, Mark reported, “Patriot has done an amazing job at adjusting to his new home with us! He wakes us up with many kisses on our faces, he expects breakfast and dinner after his morning and evening walks, and we now call him “King of the Couch,” among many other loving nicknames (Pate, Love Bug, Cuddle Monster, Patty Cakes).” Patriot has even established his favorite spot on Mark and Micah’s bed and made a couple of canine friends in the neighborhood. Mark adds, “When we go on walks, we nearly always get stopped by strangers wanting to compliment his beauty and his sunny and sweet personality.”
Soft beds and regular meals are a far cry from the painful, hungry life Patriot led before his rescue. What’s more, Mark and Micah recently adopted a three-year-old Yorkie, Edward, from the ASPCA, and Pate is loving being a big brother.
It may have taken eight years, but this sweet senior “Love Bug” finally found the home of his dreams. Mark says, “Every time I come home from work, I see his cute face sticking up from behind the armrest of the couch and I know how excited we both are to see each other. It’s hard to imagine our home without Patriot.” We’re sure that Patriot feels exactly the same way.
As many of you know, June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and it’s also the height of feline breeding season. During this time of year, animal shelters around the country are flooded with homeless and newborn cats—and the ASPCA is no exception. But although things are hectic, we think it’s important to pause and recognize the adopters who make a difference by opening their homes to felines in need. For this week’s Happy Tail, we checked in on two bonded kittens named Frankie and Zuzu who were born during the 2013 kitten season. Here is their story.
When Frankie and Zuzu were born, their future was anything but certain. It was May 2013 and they were just two of the thousands of kittens who arrived at the ASPCA during that year’s kitten season. Zuzu was suffering from chronic rhinitis due to nasal damage caused by illness, while Frankie had to have one eye removed due to irreparable damage from an infection. Both siblings were shy and easily overwhelmed; it was clear that they had not received enough attention from humans in the early stages of their life. They relied on each other, and we hoped to find a home where the sweet kittens could stay together.
Five months later, our hopes were answered in the form of Stephanie W. and her husband, Chris. Already parents to a Puggle named Maggie, the couple decided to adopt a cat after pet-sitting for a friend. “We realized that we loved living with cats, and that Maggie would do fine with a feline companion,” Stephanie says. “After that, I was ‘casually’ perusing the ASPCA Adoptables and saw Frankie’s face, and I knew I had to bring him home.”
At the ASPCA Adoption Center, Stephanie and Chris learned that Frankie was bonded with Zuzu and that they needed to be adopted together. “We were both excited and a little hesitant, but after meeting them, we just couldn’t leave them,” she says. “They were both so sweet and shy, and so clearly attached to each other, we felt compelled to give them a home where they could become comfortable and confident together.”
Although the kittens were older now—around nine months at the time—they were still tiny and timid, and Stephanie admits that their transition wasn’t always easy. Zuzu was standoffish at first, and it took months for Stephanie and Chris to gain her trust. Meanwhile, Frankie developed litter box issues that required a dietary shift and a great deal of patience. In time, though, both babies relaxed into their new home—and their new life—happily. “Now Zuzu loves being pet and actually asks for belly rubs, and her rhinitis went away completely,” Stephanie says, “and Frankie has been nothing short of wonderful.”
As the kitties continue to learn and to grow, their uncertain past seems a lifetime away. “Frankie and Zuzu are constant entertainment as they chase each other around the apartment and chatter all day long,” Stephanie tells us. “They have become so affectionate and confident, and watching their friendship is heartwarming and adorable. They now love cuddling with us and the dog in bed, and while Frankie still isn’t totally sold on our Puggle, Zuzu adores her and follows her everywhere.”
At the ASPCA, we often encounter heartbreaking cases of abuse, cruelty and neglect. It’s one of the most difficult aspects of the work that we do. But with that heartbreak comes a silver lining: inspiration. Nearly every single day, we watch in awe as the incredible animals we serve overcome their pain and suffering and go on to become happy, loving pets. Their resilience is what keeps us going, so when we heard the story of Waffles the pit bull, we knew it was too good to keep to ourselves. Here is Waffles' Happy Tail.
It was a frigid day in January 2015 when the ASPCA rescued Waffles from cruelty. He and his sister, Flapjack, were only six months old at the time. Shivering and covered in skin mites, they were rushed to the ASPCA Animal Hospital for immediate care. Over the next four weeks, they received medical treatment including skin baths, antibiotics and spay/neuter surgeries until they were strong enough to be transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center.
Though his health was on the mend, Waffles’ skin was patchy and he had not yet been housetrained. He also displayed signs of fear and anxiety, but we were hopeful that the right adopter would come along and see his potential. Fortunately, in March, Katharine F. and her girlfriend walked through our door.
A lifelong dog lover, Katharine says she “grew up valuing the special relationship that exists between dogs and people.” After her beloved yellow Lab passed away in 2011, it took a few years for her to prepare to adopt another dog, but once she was ready, the ASPCA was high on her list. “With all of the homeless dogs sitting in shelters waiting for their forever homes, I wanted nothing more than to share the extra space and love that I have with a new friend.”
Katharine and her girlfriend met a few wonderful dogs at the Adoption Center, but none of them felt like the perfect fit. That’s when they spotted Waffles. “As soon as we saw him sleeping on his cot with his tongue out, we knew there was something different about him,” she recalls. “He woke up and trotted over so excitedly, put his paws on the glass and looked at us like we’d known each other for a long time. I felt like he wanted to be with us just as much as we wanted to be with him.”
We filled the couple in on Waffles' history, including his medical and behavioral issues, but they remained certain of their decision. Katharine says, “He was missing the majority of his fur, he was terrified of the outdoors, he wasn’t housebroken and he only knew ‘sit’…We knew immediately that he was the one.”
On March 6, Katharine officially adopted Waffles and changed his name to Milo, because, as she says, “he was starting over with a new life that would be nothing like what he went through before.” And she couldn’t have been more right: In the months that followed, Milo transformed into the perfect pet.
In a recent update, Katharine reported: “I am so proud of Milo and how far he has come. He has all of his fur, has made huge progress in his house training and absolutely LOVES the outdoors. Whereas before he would walk ten feet and then stop and tremble in fear, he now excitedly leads us up the street to the dog park to freely run and play. He is the most outgoing and beloved dog in my apartment building and gets compliments on his loving and mellow nature, his good manners and handsome new fur almost everywhere that we go!”
Milo has also fallen in love with the couple’s cat, and he has learned tons of new tricks including “come,” “paw,” “lay down,” and how to stand on two legs. His confidence is growing every day, but Katharine says, “Despite how active and excited this puppy is, he is never happier than when laying in a lap with a bone in his mouth. He is truly a representation of the forgiving and resilient nature of dogs who were mistreated and then given a second chance.”
We were thrilled to learn that the sick, scared puppy we met in January has come so far and forgotten the cruelty he suffered in the first months of his life. Katharine says, “We are so grateful for all of the love and help Milo received from the ASPCA,” but we are also grateful to her for giving this precious pooch the happiest home he ever could have dreamed of!